POTHOLES


Have you ever been driving down the streets of Lead, SD? Letís say that you are driving down the road on your way to your way to a friendís house. You stop to pick up a coke at the gas station. You are cruising on the road to his house and all of the sudden your cars slams down hard and you lose your coke all over your pants and shirt. You are now mad at the world and start cursing at everything that moves. You might think the reason is that your front tire fell off but actually you hit a pothole the size of a garbage can. You know those holes in the road that after you hit them your car makes a loud rattling noise. Then you have to take you car to the alignment shop so your car will drive straight.

The city has given some effort to try to fix the holes. The city will fill the holes with loose asphalt and pound it firm with shovels. This works for about two weeks. Then the potholes are back with no trace of the asphalt. The city will fill them back up and the same thing happens. Granted the roads are allot nicer in the wintertime because the ice fills in the holes but come spring comes and there back.

The reason I think there are holes is because of the freeze-thaw cycle. If you look at the new main street they put in because of the open cut, you would see it has no holes and no cracks. It has held up for five years with no problems. On the road instead of using asphalt they used concrete. Concrete is more water proof and more durable than asphalt. Concrete reacts better to the freeze-thaw cycle because it is able to stretch and contract with the changing conditions. It is cheaper in the long run to use concrete. The city is just wasting money filling the holes and then refilling them again. For all the good that is doing they should just fill it with money. With concrete you donít have to make repairs nearly as much. Now I know the city does not have enough money to pave all the streets at once but they could start with the bigger streets. If you think about it they are losing money in tourism. The more people that have to dodge the holes the less they are going to want to come back. If the city could pave the streets the tourists use they would be better off in that area. As for the other streets work on them one or two during a year and before long no more potholes.

Back to the freeze-thaw cycle. There could be another way to fix this. Before you lay the concrete down lay strong pipe down, all linked together, crossways across the road. In the pipes have hot water running through them. This will act like an insulator for the road and keep it warm. The warmth in turn will not let ice accumulate on the roads and keep it free of ice. Another advantage to this is that the cars will not slide all over the place in the winter because the roads are clear of ice. So you kill two birds with one stone.

I guess until they figure out to use concrete my street will still be a Baja track and my car will always have that little rattle.


Cody Stahl